EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -A group of USI students have the opportunity of a lifetime.
Their hard work headed into space Wednesday to help scientists study the earth from a different angle.
It’s about the size of a loaf of bread but a rectangular box is a satellite five USI students have worked on for more than two years.
Ryan Loehrlein is one of the students involved in the project called UNITE CubeSat. Loehrlein said, “We’ve had to make sure that we’ve met all the NASA standards so as a team every single one of us has grown individually as a person and professionally.”
Each student gains knowledge that will take them above and beyond the rest. Loehrlein added, “It is designed to be ejected out of the International Space Station and it’s going to complete three main science missions.”
The satellite will head to one of the least explored layers of the atmosphere to collect data.
Zack Snyder is another team member for the UNITE CubeSat project. Snyder said, “It’s main goal is to gather space weather measurements while we’re in the atmosphere.”
Each student has played a key role in the satellite’s function. “We have thermal sensors on here to detect the temperatures as it’s re-entering the orbit,” said Snyder.
What's even more special about the project is this group us one of just 23 teams in the country to be selected for this mission.
Dr. Glen Kissel is a USI Associate Professor of Engineering who is heading the project. He said, "It will be the first space craft built and put into orbit by a public institution in the state of Indiana.
The students left for Cape Canaveral on Sunday and the liftoff was originally planned for Tuesday, but NASA rescheduled for Wednesday.
The UNITE mission could be as short as 40 days, or as long as 400 days, before that little box burns up in the atmosphere.
But while it orbits, it will continue to collect data that scientists can study.